The Play-In stage of the 2018 League of Legends World Championship is upon us. Patch 8.19 was rolled out last week to make balance changes to certain aspects of the meta, with a focus on the event. Riot’s top priorities were giving more options to counter top lane tanks and prop up some of the struggling junglers and supports. In an odd twist, the changes on this patch were all buffs, with no nerfs. Because of this, the question is whether this patch will satisfy the balance team’s goals. With so many teams exhibiting so many different play styles, the buffs on this patch will be crucial to examine before the tournament starts. The LoL Worlds meta is sure to be diverse this season, and this patch may help it even more.
Tank metas are infamous in LoL, especially when Worlds rolls around. In an effort to encourage teams to play with stronger top laners and split pushers, Riot gave buffs to Darius and Fiora.
Darius was given more damage to his Crippling Strike (W) and more armor penetration on his Apprehend (E). Both make him a serious threat to tanks, especially to tanks when they have little armor and health in the early game. While he is a champion with exploitable weaknesses, some teams may find him valuable as a counter pick.
Fiora’s buff was less significant, to ensure she didn’t become a menace, but still help some. She gained early healing from her passive and a bug-fix to make her Lunge (Q) more effective. Fiora has always been a great pick into tanks because of her absurd true damage. She will likely see some play during the tournament by aggressive top-centric teams.
These buffs are important, but won’t have a massive impact. Both champions may have more priority as counter picks, but only among some teams. The majority of successful teams find success through their middle or bottom lanes, so top laners will still mostly fall back to tanks. The games these champions do make an appearance though will surely bring the hype.
Giving Junglers a Helping Hand
The jungle meta has been relatively wide throughout the Summer Split, and certain buffs will make it even more so. Exciting, play-making junglers are seeing some love, something any viewer should find exciting.
To start, Elise received some decent cooldown buffs to her W and E. This will aid her clear and facilitate tower dives more effectively. The Spider Queen has been down and out for a while, but hopefully proactive teams will pick her up now to bring some early game action.
Jarvan IV’s passive, Martial Cadence, is receiving a huge early cooldown buff. It is being decreased to six seconds at all ranks instead of scaling down with levels. This will be great for jungle and top lane J4’s, allowing for more early skirmishing and play-making.
Kha’Zix received large buffs as well. The AD ratio on his passive was doubled from .2 to .4. The slow on his Void Spike (W) was increased too. These will be massive for the Voidreaver, and will very likely bump him back into the meta in a big way.
Lastly, Nunu & Willump saw some love to their AP build. Their Snowball Barrage (E) found decent AP ratio buffs, as well as the healing-AP ratio on their consume (Q). While the duo may be picked, it’s unlikely pro players will use the snowball-AP build on stage. The buffs will be nice, but not game changing.
The buffs to Kha’Zix and Elise will probably push them back into the picture for Worlds. Teams will find the carry potential of them higher, and will be fun for viewers to watch. Jarvan IV may find some more play, but probably not a ton. Nunu & Willump’s buff is fun, but won’t do much for high level play.
Shifting up Supports
The support role saw buffs to some of their electrifying and infamous champions. Again, play-makers are being prioritized and being given more tools to carry in their own way. At the same time, two champions who are able to stop enemy’s plays right in their tracks are getting love too.
Thresh is the first on the list, and for good reason. The mana cost and cooldown on his Death Sentence (Q) are being decreased. This will allow Thresh to throw out his hook more often and for less cost, leaving him less space to be exploited.
Pyke is next and he’s going to be much scarier in team fights. The execute damage on his Death From Below (R) is being increased in the early and mid game. The damage is increased by 50 at level 6, but evens out to the current damage by level 11. This will make him a menace at level six, with the ability to turn two-versus-two’s and skirmishes around with ease.
Janna, who hasn’t seen much play since the Ardent Censer meta, was given slightly more damage. The damage from her passive is increased, which will help her punish melee supports early on. It isn’t huge, but may help her feel more playable.
Last, but not least, is Tahm Kench. Tahm wasn’t necessarily buffed, it was more of an adjustment. His base health was lowered, but the scaling was increased. This will give him more beef as the game goes on, but cause him to be more easily exploited in the early game. His Devour (W) was bug-fixed, so that allies won’t sometimes be targetable when they are first swallowed.
The question is: will these changes be enough to have an effect on the World’s meta? The answer is yes. Aggressive players are finding more tools to play to their style. Tanks are going to be more easily exploited, by their opposing laners and by early game junglers. Supports will have much more agency and potential to have a big impact on fights and skirmishes. These changes for the LoL Worlds meta are pleasing to see, and will pave the way for a thrilling World Championship!
Featured image via Riot Games and LoL Esports.
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